Football has come home well. England simply did not win the tournament.
It is not a shame.
Italy can claim to be the best team in Euro 2020 and are worthy winners.
The guard of honor they formed as England went to collect their silver medals was a nice touch, and in keeping with a tournament which for the most part delivered a feel-good factor that the continent had need after the last 16 months.
Over the past four weeks, Gareth Southgate and his team have cemented their reconnection with the public.
At the start of his 37-second message to the nation on the morning of the final, he said “We hope we have represented you in the right way.”
They have. It matters. And it helps now, as England (nation and team) struggle to cope with more heartache.
This will mitigate the criticism the manager will receive on his picks for the shootout.
It’s hard to fault him for trusting the same young people whose praises we sang last month.
Calling in substitutes towards the end of extra time specifically to take penalties in shootouts isn’t unusual – but it’s a calculated risk.
Things went wrong here as Marcus Rashford – still only 23 – and 21-year-old Jadon Sancho both failed on the spot.
Rashford, who looked as “cold” as one might expect for a man who had sat on the bench for 119 minutes, hit the post.
A few inches to the right, and we could very well have had a different result. The 55 years of suffering may have ended here. And Bukayo Saka wouldn’t have had quite the same pressure on his 19-year-old shoulders.
Saka’s shot was saved and Southgate rushed to comfort him as the Arsenal striker burst into tears.
“It’s my turn,” said the manager. “I did…
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This notice was published: 2021-07-12 00:25:00